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PEOPLE VS. CAYAT [68 PHIL.

12 (1939)] Facts/Issue: Accused Cayat, a native of Baguio, Benguet, Mountain Province, and a member of the non-Christian tribes, was found guilty of violating sections 2 and 3 of Act No. 1639 for having acquired and possessed one bottle of A-1-1 gin, an intoxicating liquor, which is not a native wine. The law made it unlawful for any native of the Philippines who is a member of a non-Christian tribe within the meaning of Act 1397 to buy, receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine or intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed to prior to the passage of the law. Cayat challenges the constitutionality of Act 1639 on the grounds that it is discriminatory and denies the equal protection of the laws, violates due process clause, and is an improper exercise of police power. Held: It is an established principle of constitutional law that the guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification. (1) must rest on substantial distinctions; (2) must be germane to the purposes of the law; (3) must not be limited to existing conditions only; and (4) must apply equally to all members of the same class. Act No. 1639 satisfies these requirements. The classification rests on real or substantial, not merely imaginary or whimsical distinctions. It is not based upon accident of birth or parentage, as counsel for the appellant asserts, but upon the degree of civilization and culture. The term non-Christian tribes refers, not to religious belief but in a way, to the geographical area and more directly, to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities. (Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindora, supra.) This distinction is unquestionably reasonable, for the Act was intended to meet the peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian tribes. The prohibition enshrined in Act 1397 is designed to insure peace and order in and among non-Christian tribes. It applies equally to all members of the class evident from perusal thereof. That it may be unfair in its operation against a certain number of non-Christians by reason of their degree of culture, is not an argument against the equality of its application. PEOPLE VS. CAYAT [68 PHIL. 12 (1939)] FACTS: The accused, Cayat, a native of Baguio, Benguet, Mountain Province was sentenced bythe justice of the peace of court of Baguio for violation of Act No. 1639 (secs. 2 and 3) SEC. 2. It shall be unlawful for any native of the Philippine Islands who is a member of a non-Christian tribe within the meaning of the Act Numbered Thirteen hundred and ninety-seven, to buy, receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act, except as provided in section one hereof; and it shall be the duty of any police officer or other duly authorized agent of the Insular or any provincial, municipal or township government to seize and forthwith destroy any such liquors found unlawfully in the possession of any member of a non-Christian tribe. SEC. 3. Any person violating the provisions of section one or section two of this Act shall, upon conviction thereof, be punishable for each offense by a fine of not exceeding two hundred pesos or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, in the discretion of the court. At the trial, Cayat admitted all the facts alleged in the information that on or about the January 25, 1937, in the City of Baguio, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this court, the accused, Cayat, being a member of the nonChristian tribes, did receive, acquire, and have in his possession and under his control or custody, one bottle of A gin, an intoxicating liquor, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of Act No. 1639, but pleaded not guilty to the charge for the reasons adduced in his demurrer and submitted the case on the pleadings. The trial court found him guilty of the crime charged and sentenced him, The case was appealed and the accused challenges the constitutionality of the Act on the following ground: (1) That it is discriminatory and denies the equal protection of the laws. ISSUE: Whether or not there is discriminatory and denial of equal protection of the laws HELD: The Legislature has passed Act No. 1639 undoubtedly to secure for them the blessings of peace and harmony; to facilitate, and not to mar, their rapid and steady march to civilization and culture. It is, therefore, in this light that the Act must be understood and applied. It is an established principle of constitutional law that the

guaranty of the equal protection of the laws is not equal protection of the laws is not violated by a legislation based on reasonable classification. And the classification, to be reasonable,(1) Must rest on substantial distinctions;(2) Must be germane to the purposes of the law;(3) Must not be limited to existing conditions only; and(4) Must apply equally to all members of the same class. Act No. 1639 satisfies these requirements. The classification rests on real and substantial, not merely imaginary or whimsical, distinctions. It is not based upon "accident of birth or parentage, but upon the degree of civilization and culture. "The term 'non-Christian tribes' refers, not to religious belief, but, in a way, to the geographical area, and, more directly, to natives of the Philippine Islands of a low grade of civilization, usually living in tribal relationship apart from settled communities. "The Act was intended to meet the peculiar conditions existing in the non-Christian tribes. The exceptional cases of certain members thereof who at present have reached a position of cultural equality with their Christian brothers, cannot affect the reasonableness of the classification thus established. That it is germane to the purposes of law cannot be doubted. The prohibition "to buy, receive, have in his possession, or drink any ardent spirits, ale, beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors of any kind, other than the so-called native wines and liquors which the members of such tribes have been accustomed themselves to make prior to the passage of this Act. It is designed to insure peace and order in and among the non-Christian tribes. It has been the sad experience of the past, as the observations of the lower court disclose, that the free use of highly intoxicating liquors by the non-Christian tribes have often resulted in lawlessness and crimes, thereby hampering the efforts of the government to raise their standard of life and civilization. The law is not limited in its application to conditions existing at the time of its enactment. It is intended to apply for all times as long as those conditions exist. The Legislature understood that the civilization of a people is a slow process and that hand in hand with it must go measures of protection and security.